Black Soldier Pepper-Sprayed by Police Gets $3,685 In $1M Lawsuit

An Afro-Latino soldier who was pepper sprayed by Virginia police while in uniform will receive less than $4,000 after filing a $1 million lawsuit against two officers.According to ABC News, a jury awarded 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario $3,685 in his suit against Windsor, Virginia, police officers Joe Gutierrez and Daniel Crocker, who faced charges of assault, battery, false imprisonment, and illegal search.

Gutierrez will pay $2,685 in damages for assault, no malice. Crocker was found liable for illegal search, no malice, and ordered to pay $1,000. All other charges were dropped.

Tom Roberts, the attorney representing Nazario, said it was a “sad day” as the verdict failed to show other police officers that “this conduct is unacceptable.””It is open season on citizens in Virginia and across the county,” Roberts said in a statement. “Citizens will not rest assured that scenes like this are not repeated with impunity.

The incident at the center of the suit occurred on Dec. 5, 2020, when Gutierrez and Crocker pulled over Nazario for not having a visible license plate. Body camera footage shows a temporary license plate in the rear window of the lieutenant’s vehicle.

In the footage, Gutteriez can be seen pepper spraying the lieutenant when he wouldn’t get out of the car.

“Can you please relax?” Nazario said to the officers while sitting in his car.

“Get out of the car now!” Gutierrez responded before pepper spraying Nazario in the face as he attempted to explain that he was actively serving in the U.S. armed forces.

In a police report, one of the officers claimed that Nazario was eluding police because he didn’t pull over right away. Nazario said he was trying to find a well-lit area to stop at.

“I’m honestly afraid to get out,” Nazario said during the traffic stop.

“Yeah, you should be,” Gutierrez replied.

Gutierrez was fired in 2021 for not following the department policies during the incident, Windsor police said.

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